In the 2000s, the government pushed reform to improve the system for nurturing legal professionals, especially with a view to increasing the number of lawyers so that people could receive high-quality legal services for any field and in any part of the country. It adopted a plan in March 2002 that envisaged that about 3,000 applicants would pass the bar exam every year.

The plan was based on a recommendation made by the Justice System Reform Council in June 2001. From April 2004 to April 2005, 74 new law schools opened and in May 2006, a new bar exam started, testing graduates of those law schools.

Things did not go as planned. Many graduates failed to pass the bar exam. And even when they passed, many could not find jobs as lawyers. So the number of people who enter law schools has been decreasing every year. On April 9, a government panel came up with an interim proposal to drop the goal of having about 3,000 applicants pass the bar exam annually. It said the government should give up on setting any numerical goal.